by Mustafa Mashoor
Our examination will address two aspects: the first deals with the method and progression in the form of steps; and the second deals with the benefits of individual Da'wah and the qualities of the Da'iya who performs it.
- Da'wah to Allah is a duty on every Muslim in every age, and in our time this Da'wah is particularly important in light of the vicious attacks the enemies of Allah are waging to remove the importance of Da'wah from the hearts of Muslims.
- Da'wah to Allah is a great honor for its carrier. Allah says in the Quran: "Who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah, works righteousness, and says: I am of those who bow in submission?"
- Da'wah to Allah promises great reward for its carrier, and the Hadith of the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam confirms the reward. Prophet Muhammad Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam said: "For Allah to guide one man through you is better for you than all that the sun has shined over".
- Da'wah to Allah and the call to the straight path is the way of moderation amidst different calls, ideas, confusion, and ignorance.
- Da'wah to Allah is an important step in serious Islamic work. It serves Ta'reef (the spreading of Islamic ideas) which proceeds Takween (the establishment of organized Islamic work) and Tarbiya (the moral, spiritual, and physical training of individuals and groups). There is public Da'wah in the form of a book, a magazine, a publication, or a tape. There is also individual Da'wah which is just as important. In this book we will examine individual Da'wah in detail.
The method and the steps:
We must understand the realities in which the Muslims who receive our Da'wah live (note that we will limit our discussion to Da'wah to Muslims only), so we can change the realities in which they live, limitations in their understanding, weakness in their commitment, or extremism in their views into a complete, pure, and robust understanding of Islam as described by the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam. We must also explain the complete Islamic requirements and the way to fulfill these requirements in a satisfactory fashion. With some studying and analysis of our societies, we find that weakness of Iman or the sedated Iman in the people's hearts, coupled with a lack of understanding of the realities of this Dean and ignorance of the cultural and social invasion of Muslim minds are plaguing the hearts of most Muslims and are facilitating to the enemies of Allah the manipulation of some Muslims to fight the Dean visibly and invisibly.
We should not expect pure understanding, activism, or productive work for Islam from those who are plagued. We can expect proper understanding, activism, productive work, and elevation of the souls to the levels of the righteous workers only when Islam awakens in the hearts and motivates towards change.
We must emphasis that the adherence to the order of the steps is important and essential to protect callers and the called from despair and rejection. To clarify the way to make individual Da'wah, we will start this Da'wah with a person who is unaware or neglectful of his duties, and we will attempt to elevate him methodically step by step. Generally, there are individuals who are in better shape and who are more receptive, and we should start with them to save time and effort.
For many of the Muslims, their lives are preoccupied and distracted from the worship of Allah. The distraction has made Muslims like people who are deep in their sleep, and there is a blazing fire that is approaching to devour them if their situation continues. Among those who are sleeping is a group of people who are awake and who are witness to the situation and they can not stop the fire. Duty dictates on those who are awake to wake up those who are sleeping so each one of them can realize the gravity of the situation and protect himself from the fire. Any attempt to warn the sleepers before waking them up will be useless because they will not respond. Therefore, awakening the sleepers before warning is essential. Very often, when one attempts to wake up a sleeping person, the sleeper will ask to be left so he or she can continue sleeping. In this situation, the sleeper is enjoying his sleep and does not want any disturbance. The sleeper asks to be left alone while he or she is sleeping, because if he or she was awake and would see the fire, he or she would have departed quickly away from the fire. Furthermore, if a person claims that he or she is awake, then an attempt to escape the fire is the only proof to the truth of the claim. The similitude of this fire example is like that of a Da'iya among those whom he is calling to Allah. Therefore, the Da'iya must be patient in his Da'wah and he must patient in the face of any mistreatment from those whom he calls. He must embrace the example of the beloved prophet who was patient and continued in his Da'wah despite being harmed. The Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam used to say:
"Oh my Lord, guide my people for they do not know." Along this meaning, Imam Al-Banna said to the Muslim Brotherhood: "Be like trees among people. The people would stone the trees, but the trees continue to produce fruit."
We start with the first stage in individual Da'wah: which is establishing a friendship with the recipient of Da'wah and making the recipient feel that you are genuinely concerned with him. You interact with him without indulging in any issue of Da'wah until the heart of the recipient is comfortable to receive useful instructions. The reception of the recipient is directly proportional to the concern and emotion devoted to him. Any talk with the recipient about Da'wah my turn away the recipient. The first step may take several weeks.
The second stage: is an attempt to revive the sedated Iman in the heart of the recipient. The talk might not be about Iman directly, but rather the talk should seem natural as if it is unintended. You might utilize the chance of seeing a bird, a plant, an insect, or any other one of Allah's creation to talk about the Ability, the Magnificence, and Power of Allah. For example, you might explain how all the plants emerge from soil and water, yet they are different in their stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, colors, smell, taste even though all are irrigated with the same water and in one soil. Allah says in the Quran: "The creation of Allah who [Allah] has perfected everything."
"This is the creation of Allah so show me what others have created." Can all the scientists with all their knowledge create a grain of wheat in their laboratories that can grow into a wheat plant if it is put in soil and watered? They will not be able to because the secret of germination is only in the knowledge of Allah alone. Therefore, no human an put the secret in an artificial seed. Also, if all the people on earth gather to create a fruit fly, they will not be able to, because creation and giving life is for Allah alone.
Therefore, with continuing dialogue and with contemplation upon Allah's creation, the recipient's heart will bloom with the glorification and remembrance of Allah. The Quran says:
"And they ponder upon the creation of the heavens and the earth. Our Lord, you have not created this in vain, All Glory be to you, so protects from the punishment of hell." This ayah clearly illustrates that the fruit of contemplation is the glorification of Allah. This glorification is raised to the remembrance of the day of judgment and what is in it from reward that pushes the believer to ask Allah's protection from the hell fire.
With the awakening of the belief in Allah, His Oneness, His Might, and His Perfection, the heart lives on the path of Allah, rises from its sleep, and prepares for the completeness of belief in the Hereafter and what is in it from resurrection, judgment, and reward and punishment. Further, the heart will understand the mission that Allah has created us for, which is the worship of Allah, and that Allah has not created us in vain. It might be important to explain the issue of the honor that Allah has bestowed upon humans when He breathed life into them. Many people have ignored this honor and concentrated on the physical aspects of creation and on the needs of the bodies. Truly, the Islamic Aqeedah (creed) is essential to the well-being of the soul and its happiness in this life and in the hereafter. In this manner, the dialogue should continue about the issue of Iman. When Iman awakes, the person will start reviewing his life and he will feel that if he continues in his negligence, indulgence in sins, and disobedience to Allah, he will face a severe punishment from Allah on the day of judgment when there is no escape or avail. At that point, leading him and instructing him with his Islamic duties will become simpler and easier.
Next, the third stage begins. This stage deals with helping the recipient of Da'wah to realize his situation by learning about obedience to Allah, compulsory worship, the regularity of practicing the teachings of Islam, staying away from the sins, and acquiring Islamic manners. It might be best to supply him with simple reading material in Aqeedah, Ibadah, and Akhlaq (manners) and to invite him to attend lectures and circles of knowledge where he can meet good and righteous people and avoid people of mischief. Moreover, he should not be left alone for prolonged periods of time without follow up. Following up with him will help him continue on the straight path, and it will help to protect him from the causes of diminished commitment, laziness, and excessiveness. This stage may continue for several weeks or months until his personality is a solid Islamic personality that is difficult to shake. At this point, we must be aware that there are many different kinds of people who are at this stage and we can start with them in the fourth stage directly provided we have fulfilled the first stage which is establishing a strong relation with them to insure continued dialogue and commitment to the Da'wah.
The fourth stage deals with explaining the complete meaning of Ibadah. Ibadah is not limited to Salat, fasting, Zakat, and Hajj, but instead it encompass all aspects of life including food, dress, knowledge, work, marriage, sports, and caring for the younger generation. All the aspects of Ibadah can be fulfilled provided that two conditions are fulfilled. The first condition is pure intention and adherence to Islam in that we intend to use our actions as help in obeying Allah and fulfilling the purpose of Allah in making us his vice gerunds on earth. For example, we eat and drink to attain the strength to obey and worship Allah, and thus eating and drinking become acts of worship for which we are rewarded. We learn to benefit the Muslims and the nation of Islam, so that our learning becomes an act of worship for which we receive reward for the time, effort, and work in any branch to benefit Muslims and the nation of Islam and to earn lawfully to establish our lives and to fulfill our needs. Also, if we marry to safe guard ourselves, to establish a Muslim home that is a strong pillar in the establishment of the Islamic nation, and to rear righteous offspring, devoting our time to train them on the basis of Islam so the Deen of Allah can be glorified, then the marriage is transformed into an act of worship for which we receive reward from Allah. Even when we practice sports to strengthen our bodies to carry the burdens of Da'wah and jihad in the path of Allah, then our practice of sports becomes an act of worship. In this fashion, our life becomes a large place of worship in which we worship Allah with every action that we perform with pure and sincere intention. The second condition is the adherence of all our actions to the commandments of Allah and the teachings of Islam. Therefore, we don't eat, drink, dress, or practice an action unless it is Halal and is an acceptable act of worship. For example, we cannot say that we will eat what is Haram to build our strength to obey Allah. At this stage, the Muslim individual's actions and attitudes must adhere to the commandments of Allah. Furthermore, he must understand the comprehensive nature of Ibadah rather than the understanding that Ibadah is limited to the pillars of Islam.
The fifth stage deals with explaining to the recipient that our Deen is not restricted to individual commitment to Allah, in which a Muslim performs compulsory worship, commits to good manners, and safeguard others from his harms. Instead, our Islam is a collective way of life that regulates all aspects of life from jurisprudence to politics and jihad. This is the correct understanding of Islam that dictates general responsibilities and obligations on Muslims. We are obliged to fulfill the orders of Allah to establish a society based on Islamic political, economic, social, and legislative principals. We must understand that our duty to this Deen is to establish it on earth and to convey it to all of humanity
"Until there is no more persecution and the religion becomes Allah's".
A Muslim can not live a proper Islam if he is isolated from his Muslim brothers or if he is unaffected by what the Muslims face from hardship, trials, or calamities at the hands of the enemies of Allah all over the Muslim world. The Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam said:
"whom so ever is not concerned with the affairs of the Muslims, he is not from among them." Around this meaning, the dialogue will continue with the recipient until the feeling of responsibility towards Islam and Muslims in general is instated in his mind and manifested in his action. Next, we must explain to him that the current state of the Muslim Ummah compels us to work earnestly to reestablish the Islamic Khilapha after the enemies of Allah have plotted to abolish it. Further, we must explain that the hardship that Muslim Ummah faces such as divisions, attacks by the enemies of Allah, destruction of masjids, rape of women, confiscation of Muslim land, stealing of Muslim resources, and raising new generations away from Islam are all a direct result of the absence of a Muslim state that intimidates the enemies of Allah, prevents the enemies from attacking Muslims, unites the Muslims, and establishes the Deen of Allah. Also, we must explain that establishing the Khilapha is not the duty of the rulers or Muslim scholars alone, but rather it is the duty of every Muslim man and woman in day and age. Furthermore, all the Muslims are sinful if they do not work to establish the Islamic state. The dialogue will continue until the recipient starts thinking seriously and practically about the establishment of the Islamic state.
The sixth stage deals with explaining that the duty of establishing the Khilapha or an Islamic state can not be fulfilled by one individual. Rather, it must be fulfilled by a Jamaa (an organized group of Muslims working collectively) that coordinates the efforts of individuals to achieve the huge duty. Also, the known rule of Shareeah states that what is essential to perform a compulsory act is also compulsory. Therefore, since the establishment of an Islamic state cannot be fulfilled except through a Jamaa, then the establishment of a Jamaa is compulsory. One cannot imagine that a person can be complete in his Deen if he lives alone and does not work through a Jamaa that establishes the duties of Islam and works earnestly for the establishment of the Islamic Khilapha. This stage is essential because many Muslims do not see the importance of establishing a Jamaa or working through a Jamaa either because they would like escape the responsibility or because they would not like to face any hardship associated with working in a Jamaa. Explaining the magnitude of the responsibility that can not fulfilled except through a Jamaa is essential to convince the recipient of the importance of establishing a Jamaa at whatever cost. Further, explaining the great benefit of a Jamaa is very critical.
The seventh stage deals with the question of which Jamaa a person should work with? This stage is important and critical and requires wisdom and a strength in explanation and argument. There are many active Jamaas in the Islamic arena that call on youth and carry the banner of Islam. Each of these Jamaas has its slogans and means to attract youth.
Every Muslim youth should understand that the issue of working for Islam is of prime importance and choosing the path through which he will serve Islam is critical. He must be comfortable with the soundness of the path and he should not rush in choosing the Jamaa in which he will work to establish Islam. Since everyone lives once, he should not gamble with his only chance and should verify the path by spending time and effort until he feels comfortable and confident of his choice.
We should be aware that fulfilling the demands of Islam and establishing and Islamic state must be done in accordance to the path of the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam when he established the first Islamic state by laying the pure Aqeedah in the hearts of believers and training the believers in Dar Al-Arqam on the banquet of Quran and in the school of Sunnah. From his school Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam , many men graduated with an Aqeedah that ruled their emotions, actions, and every aspect of their life. They devoted to the Aqeedah all they could of time, effort, health, time, and breath. For it, they persevered in spreading it and withstood all hardship and suffering. They protected it with jihad of their money and souls. Therefore, those men became the strong pillars in the first Islamic state. After that, the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam made them brothers, organized them, and took from them vows and promises to protect this Deen with all what they own until they achieved victory with the grace of Allah.
In this fashion, the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam achieved the strength of Aqeedah, the strength of unity, and then the physical strength. When the vibrant and strong Aqeedah resides in the hearts of believers, it can face the enemies of Allah and push them back with strength:
"To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, because they are wronged". But before the establishment of the base when the Muslims where few, the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam used to advise the believers with patience over hardship and fortitude on truth in which they believed while continuing to call others to Islam. The Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam did not ask them to face evil with strength. Therefore, a Jamaa that follows this path is the one most worthy of working with. But if a Jamaa does not stress the side of Tarbiya and preparation based on unity, faith, and strength, then it is gambling with its work and hampering the Islamic work.
For example, trying to reach power using physical strength or political maneuvers only without Tarbiya and unity is a risk doomed to shake the continuation and strength of Islamic work and certain to abort before it grows and prospers naturally over a strong base. Therefore, establishing a strong base that calls for the Islamic state and defends and protects the state when it is established is essential. The establishment of the structure of the Islamic state starts from the base and not from the top. The bigger the structure, the bigger and deeper the base needs to be. We must realize that since the enemies of Islam work internationally then the structure of Islamic state must be international and that time is not measured by the life span of individuals but rather by the life span of nations.
With the grace of Allah, we find that Imam Al-Shahid Hasan Al-Banna has followed the way of the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam and affirmed the importance of preparing the Muslim individual in his Aqeedah, the Muslim home, and the Muslim society as a strong basis over which the Islamic government, the Islamic state, and then the Khilapha will be established with the will of Allah.
Further, we must understand that the Jamaa most worthy of working with is the one that takes Islam in its entirety as an Aqeedah, an Ibadah, manners, a Shareeah, a rule of government, jihad, and every other aspect of life. The Jamaa must not stress one aspect and neglect the other side for any reason. The Jamaa must have the horizontal base across the world to facilitate the establishment of the wide base pivotal to establishing an international Islamic state and not an Islamic state which is limited to a country or a region. Not only that, but the more experience the Jamaa has, the greater the trust in the hearts of workers that the goals of Islam will be fulfilled in the most time and energy efficient manner possible. Moreover, the experience of the Jamaa will keep it away from extremism, disunity, and negligence and will keep it on the path of the Prophet Salla Allahu Alyhi Wasalam and our righteous predecessors.
The Jamaa must be united and organized and must work on a well known plan away from spontaneity and haphazardness. We must be aware of the danger of division and the wasting of efforts caused by splitting ourselves into small disunited groups. Essentially, everyone who wants to work for Islam must add his voice and effort to the Jamaa that fulfills the requirements mentioned above. Also, one should not raise the flag of a new Jamaa and should not follow the call of an inexperienced Jamaa, because doing so will disperse the efforts of Muslims. Furthermore, one should not forsake the large experienced Jamaa unless he finds that Fisq and misguidence are the norm in it.
After this detailed explanation, every sincere and truthful Muslim will find that the qualities of the Jamaa are present in the Jamaa of Ikwan Al-Muslimeen (the Muslim Brotherhood).